VINDICIAE VERITATIS Or an Unanimous Attestation to Gods blessed Truth Revealed in his WORD: Together with a serious Protestati­on against those Church-desolating and Soul­damning Errors, Heresies, and Blasphemies, which of late have come in like a flood upon our County and Kingdome: Especially against a Toleration of them. Made in pursuance of the Nationall Covenant, BY The Ministers of the Gospel with­in the West-Riding of the Countie of York, as a Caution to their flocks, and Testimonie to the world of their zeal for, and love to, Christs truth and Church.

Readily and Willingly Subscribed, April 6. 1648.

LONDON, Printed by John Macock, for LUKE FAVVNE, at the sign of the Parrot in Pauls Church-yard. MDCXLVIII.

Vindiciae Veritatis. OR An Vnanimous Attestation TO Gods Blessed Truth Revealed by his WORD.

VVE the Ministers of Christ, residing within the West-riding of the County of York; seriously calling to mind the many wonderful mercies, and deliverances, which God hath vouchsafed in those latter years to this Church and King­dom; especially in freeing us from the insup­portable yoke of the Prelatical Hierarchy, and setting open a fair door of hope, to a ful and through Reformation, by means of this present Parliament, in pursuance of our Nation­al Covenant; cannot but desire to be unfeignedly thankful to God, first, and then to the Honorable Houses for all their pains, piety, prudence and fidelity manifested therein: Yet we cannot but with sad and sorrowful hearts, weep, yea (if it were possi­ble) bleed over those inexpressible Calamities, which threaten this poor distressed Church with speedy and inevitable ruin, by reason of the many pernicious Errors, damnable Heresies, unpa­raleld Blasphemies, and more then abominable Irreligion, and [Page 4] Atheism, which dayly increase and spread amongst us. Especi­ally our hearts tremble, when we consider the desperate attemps of those, who endeavour and plead for a Bloody Tenent preface toleration (of all Con­sciences and worship, even Antichristian; Diametrically oppo­site to the National Covenant, and that) which would entayl all these evils upon us, and our posterity for ever.

Fearing therefore, by our sinful silence, to betray the Truth of God, which in the worst of times hath ever found some friends to own and assert it. And having before our eyes

First, The Honor of God, which ought to be dearer to us then our own Exod 32, 32 Rom 9.3 salvation.

Secondly, The preciousness of our peoples souls, Acts 20, 28 bought with no meaner price then the Blood of Christ, now in danger to be subverted.

Thirdly, The strictness of our engagement by Covenant with­in our calling, to endeavour the extirpation of Heresies, Schism, Prophaness, and whatsoever is contrary to sound Doctrine, and the power of godliness

Fourthly, The express charge that lies upon all, earnestly to Iude verse 3 contend for the Faith, which was once delivered to the Saints, e­specially upon Ezek 33, 7 Acts 20, 29 Ministers, to warn the people of their danger, to watch over their flocks against false Teachers, and to hold Tit 1.9 [...] It notes an hold against a con­trary bold, when we have any thing in our hand that ano­ther would wrest from us fast the faithful Word.

Fifthly, The forwardness and zeal of Beleevers in all ages, that have maintained the Truth of the Gospel, against all the assaults of the Devil, and his Instruments, together with the late, fresh and pious 2 Cor 9, 2 example, of our dear Brethren the Ministers of Christ, within the Province of London.

Sixthly, Our own 1 Tim 5, 21 exemption from being partakers of other mens sins, that we may free our selves both from the guilt of these reigning corruptions, and the Blood of souls.

Seventhly, And lastly, The sweet and comfortable Mat 10, 32 promise of our Lord and Savior, which he hath made, to the confession of his Name, and truth before men: We do freely give testimony, as followeth;

1. We cannot but exceedingly check and blame our selves, with broken and bleeding hearts, that we have been no more a­ctive and forward for God, in promoting and advancing the [Page 5]happy begun Reformation of Religion, according to our Cove­nant, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government. And also, that we have so little appeared (out of the spheres of our re­respective Congregations) against the many intolerable Errors, Blasphemies and Heresies, which have dayly increased whiles they should have been suppressed.

2. We do firmly beleeve, the holy Scripture given by Divine 2 Tim 3, 16 inspiration, contained in the Canonical books of the Old and New Testament, to be the 2 Pet. 1, 19 20, 21 undoubted Word of God; the su­pream Judge in all Controversies of Religion, from which there's no appeal: The most perfect Ephes. 2, 20 rule of faith and obedience both in respect of Gods Worship, and the whole conversation of man. To which, as nothing ought to be added, so from it no­thing ought to be Deut 4, 2 Rev 22, 18, 19 diminished.

3. Upon a diligent perusal of a Confession of Faith, and Cate­chism, presented (as the humble Advice of the Assembly of Di­vines, then setting at Westminster) to both Houses of Parliament, for their civil sanction: We cannot but thankfully acknowledg their unwearied pains taken therein, notwithstanding the many apparent difficulties they dayly wrestled withall; heartily blessing God for guiding them so by his Spirit into all truth; that as we do freely and fully assent to the whole Doctrine of Faith therein contained, to be sound, orthodox, clearly grounded upon the Word of God, and agreeable to the Confessions of the Reformed Churches, (of all which we are abundantly satisfied, and convin­ced in our Judgments and Consciences;) so we can cheerfully submit our selves unto that Confession and Catechism, as a speci­al means to preserve Unity and Purity of Doctrine amongst us; earnestly imploring they may receive the stamp of supream Autho­rity, for the nearer Conjunction of the three Kingdoms, that we and our posterity after us, may as Brethren live in peace and love, and the Lord may delight to dwel in the midst of us.

4. Whereas it is undenyably evident, and more clear then the Sun at noonday; that men of corrupt minds have broached and spread amongst us many Remonstrance &c. by Borea­lis printed at London, 1648 page 8, 9 And Colemans re­examination, page 10 unsound opinions, and monstrous Er­rors, both in word and writings, of which those many dangerous and heretical books, (such as are Bests Mysteries against the whole Trinity. Bidles twelve Arguments against the Diety of [Page 6]the Holy Ghost. Comfort for Believers. Mans Mortality. Bloody Tenent. And Sparkles of Glory; with many moe com­monly printed and published,) are lively, and never dying Mo­numents to all posterity: We could not but sit down astonished, and wish our heads were waters, and our eyes a fountain of tears, that we might weep day and night for the spreading and growth of those Errors, Heresies and Schisms, which by such an express, sacred and holy oath, our Kingdom is bound to extirpate. Oh how are we ashamed, and blush to lift up our faces, either to God, or to any of the Reformed Charches, when we consider, how God is notoriously blasphemed, by being made the Author of Comfort for Beleevers. pag 36 sin: The doctrine of the sacred An account to the Parliament by the Ministers of Oxford, pag 36, 7 Trinity of persons, in Unity of Essence horridly reproached, by those hell-fetcht Vaal Best in his manuscript, presented by the Ministers at York to the Lord Fairfax. expressions of a three-headed Cerberus, Monstrum Biforme, Triforme, a two-shap't, and three-form'd Monster, yea, stigmatiz'd for Antichri­stian, and the brand of the great Whore: The sacred Diety of the eternal Son of God Account by Oxford Mini­sters. page 30 destroyed, and the whole work of our Re­demption accomplished by his Manifestation in the flesh clearly o­verthrown; in making Christ, who is truly and really God-man in one person, (by the merit and satisfaction of whose death and obedience imputed to us we are saved,) to be a meer Sparkles of Glory. page 203 205. 217 figure or example only in which God discovers to us grace and love; and in making the Account by Oxford Man­sters, page 32 ct 34. ct page 30. ct 41 Sparkles of Glory page 254, 255 Saints to be Christ. The Divine Authority of the Scriptures openly oppugned, in being denyed to be the Pilgrimage of Saints. page 4 Word of God, and any Sparkles page 245 binding rule to the Creature. The eternal De­cree of God concerning Election and reprobation decryed, as not fit to be Paul [...]obsons book entitaled, Christ the [...] not the Cause of the Law. page 7, 9 preached. The standing Sparkles pag 30, 31, 232 245, 246 Ordinances of Jesus Christ, prayer, Sacraments, Lords day Sabbath, Law, Gospel, Ministry, all raz'd to the very foundation; yea, the Church of Christ on earth, and all Sparkles pag 50 51 [...] by Ox­ford Ministers. p 13 14 ct; o Sparkle, page 116 117 distinction of Church-Officers utterly taken away, denyed and destroyed: All which Errors and Heresies, with ma­ny moe particularized in a Catalogue, by our Reverend Brethren the Ministers of London, in their Testimony to the Truth of Jesus Christ, and multitudes of others, every way as horrid, too long to enumerate, tend to the great dishonor of God, the insufferable reproach of the Gospel, the dangerous undermining of Magistra­cy, and the unspeakable ruin of thousands of souls, yea, and of all Religion; and will speedily and mortally, like a Gangrene (if [Page 7]not timely prevented) eat out all faith, piety and peace, both in Church and State. And yet (which most of all saddens our spi­rits) we do not find any effectual means used by Authority to re­strain and suppress them; but on the contrary, the orthodox party in the Kingdom is discarded and discountenanced, and notorious Sectaries and Seducers highly respected and preferred among us.

Having therefore seriously weighed the miserable effects of the prevalency of the Spirit of Errors and Infatuation, which hath possessed so many in this Kingdom, a woful experiment whereof we have lately had in our own County, in some acted by the spirit of delusion, to cast off all piety and natural affection, in the wilful murder of their own Samuel Hut­chenson, who dyed in York Castle, about a work before the Assize held there; March 20. 1647. His sister, and her husband both condemned for that fact, the one execu­ted, and the o­ther reprieved. Mother, pretending to kill the evil spirit in her. We do here before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ (who shall judg the quick and the dead at his appearing, and his King­dom) for the discharge of our Calling and Consciences; declare to the whole world our dislike, utter detestation, and abhorrency from our very souls, not only of all Popery, Superstition, Pro­phaneness, but of all those Errors, Heresies and Blasphemies for­merly mentioned, though 2 Cor. 11, 13 14, 15 guilded with never so specious pre­tences of new light, all spirit, highest and most glorious discoveries, and of whatsoever else is contrary to sound doctrine, and the power of godliness 1 Tim. 6, 3.

And further, we do in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, warn and charge our several flocks and Congregations, as they tender the honor of God, and his Gospel, and the salvation of their own souls; that they take heed, lest they be 2 Pet. 2, 2, et 3, 17 led away with the Error of the wicked, or follow the pernicious ways of them that bring in damnable Heresies; and for this cause we how Ephes. 3 44 our knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he would Heb. 13, 9 Ephel. 4, 14 esta­blish their and our hearts with grace, that we may not be carried about with divers and strange doctrines, but may stand 1 Cor 16, 13 fast in the faith, and be 2 Thes. 2, 17 established in every good word and work.

5. Upon the due Consideration of the many lamentable con­fusions and mischiefs the poor Church of God groans under a­mongst us for want of Government, Ephes. 1, 22 Heb 3 2, to 6 and the due Administration of Church-censures: And being fully assured; that Jesus Christ, the King and head of his Church (faithful in that his house above Moses) hath in the Scriptures laid down a sufficient rule for the [Page 8]governing of his Church now under the Gospel, 1 Cor 12, 28 2 Cor 2, 6 Mat 18, 17 1 Tim [...], 17 1 Thes 5.12 we testifie, that we are verily perswaded, in our Judgments and Consciences, that the Government of the Church truly, and indeed Presbyterial, by Mat 18, 15 ad 21 Acts 14, 23 Titus 1, 5 Acts 11, 30 & Chap. 21, 18 1 Tim 4, 14 Acts 15, 6 Presbyteries and Synods, in a way of subordination, practised by the best Reformed Churches, is that particular Government which is most agreeable to the Word of God, and will mightily conduce to the removing of all Errors, Heresies, Corruptions and Scandals in Life and Doctrine from amongst us.

And further, we thankfully acknowledg what the Parliament hath done by their several Ordinances, in reference to the settle­ment of this Presbyterial Government in the Church, patiently waiting for the full establishment of it in all the parts thereof. In the mean time, though we cannot find so compleat a rule in any, or all those Ordinances of Parliament for Church-Government, which have (at this distance) come to our hand, as we are per­swaded in our judgments, Isaiah 9, 6 Mat. 16, 19 2 Cor 10, 8 a Note, that by vertue of an Order from the Committee for the 60000 l. per mensom, (according to a late Ordinance of Parliament) the west-riding of York shire was by the assi­stance of the Ministers divi­ded into ten Classical Pres­byteries. April 6, 1648. But it seems there is yet no return made of them, because they have not divi­ded the whole County is held forth in the Word: And though we beleeve, that Jesus Christ (the spirituall Monarch of his Church) upon whose shoulder alone the whole frame of all Eccle­siastical Government and power is laid) hath immediatly from himself, invested the sole power of dispencing all Church-censures, and in particular, that of suspension from the Sacrament of the Lords Supper in his own Church-Officers, who from him alone receive their Office and Authority: Yet in regard the necessities of putting Church-Government into actual execution, are so great, and pressing, we are resolved (if God permit) to a act in our places for the exercising thereof upon the present Ordinances, so far as we apprehend them consonant to the Word of God, and the wil and appointment of Jesus Christ, hoping and praying that God will reveal to all in Authority the whole truth concerning Church-Government, that their Consciences being fully satisfied therein, what is wanting may be added, what is unwarrantable may be altered, and that in Gods good time the Model of Church-Discipline may be perfected, and the whole Government fully setled, duly exercised, and conscientiously embraced throughout all the Kingdom to the Glory of God, and recovery of this lan­guishing Church, out of all her dangerous Maladies and distempers.

In pursuance whereof, we shall, through the Grace of God, en­deavour, that our whole carriage may be such as becomes those [Page 9]who are ready to be responsible for whatsoever we shall do, not only to the supream Authority of this Kingdom, but also, and chiefly to our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, the great sheephard of the sheep, at his glorious coming and appearing, how we have ta­ken heed to our Ministry, which we have received in the Lord, in every thing to fulfil it. Col 4.17

6. When we call to mind the many dangerous plottings and practises of the Ministers of Satan, to bring in a full and formal toleration; and being convinced by woful experience, that the pre­sent connivance at Errors, Heresies, Sects and Schisms, (which swarm in the Kingdom) amounts to no less: We tremble to think what such indulgence will produce, how quickly would a tolera­tion prove an inlet to Atheism, the bane of our peace, the ruin of Reformation, the destruction of Religion, the grand provoca­tive of Gods wrath against this Land, to make us an hissing and a­stonishment to all Nations: And therefore we do from our hearts abhor and protest against the toleration so much cry'd up in these days, as contrary to the Scripture, Gal 1, 8, 9, & 5, 12 Rev. 2, 2, 20, v and that which will undoubted­ly un-Church, un-Parliament, and un-people us (if God prevent not.) And as we cannot approve or allow of Independency or Erastianism, so we are resolved by the Grace of God never to consent to the toleration of Arrianism, Antitrinitarianism, An­tinomianism, Antiscripturism, Arminianism, Anabaptism, En­thusiasm, Familism, Libertinism, Socinianism, Scepticism, or any other Heresies, Sects, or erronious opinions whatsoever; but to withstand the same by all lawful ways and means within our places and callings, though to the loss of our Liberties, Estates, lives, and whatsoever else may be dear unto us, all which we count not too dear to loose for Gods Glory, Truth and Gospel.

7. Finally it cannot be unknown to the Reformed Churches a­broad, that all the three Kingdoms stand ingaged by vertue of a so­lemn Covenant, sworn with hands lift up to the most high God, sin­cerely, really & constantly through the Grace of God, to endeavour in our several places the Reformation of religion in the Kingdoms of England and Ireland, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Go­vernment according to the Word of God, and example of the best Reformed Churches. Which Covenant the Parliament did not only commend unto us by their example, but command by their [Page 10]Authority to be taken by us, and our people: Yet, as if all our o­ther provocations were not sufficient to fill up the measure of our sins, and bring wrath upon the Kingdom to the uttermost, Many takers of this Covenant do now trample upon it; horrible A Pamphlet intituled, The peoples and sol­diers Observa­tions on the Scotch Message November 5 1647 page 6 et 8 re­proaches are cast upon it; sundry endeavours used to evade and elude the true sense and meaning thereof: Yea, so far have some proceeded in their enmity against it, as to labour by all means the extirpation of the Covenant name and thing from amongst us, ra­ther then of Heresie and Schism to which they are engaged by it, that so England may become the grave, not only of all Gods Truths, Ordinances, Mercies, Victories, Deliverances, but also of their own Declarations, Protestations, Oaths and Engagements.

Wherefore, Nehem 9, 38 Ezek 17, 15 16, 18, 19 being sufficiently convinced of the lawfulness of en­tring the Covenant, and of the sinfulness of violating it, we pre­fess our unfeigned desire to be humbled for our own sins, and the sins of this Kingdom, especially, that we have not endeavoured a real Reformation, both personal and publike, as we have cove­nanted.

And to conclude, that we may not involve our selves in the guilt of wilful perjury; We further profess and declare before God, his elect Angels, and the whole world, that as at the first we did strike Covenant (as in the presence of the Almighty God) without any equivocation, mental reservation, or subordination to any politick interest in point of Church Reformation, according to the common, plain, genuine, grammatical sense of it, so we are still bound to perform the same, to the utmost of our power whilst we live, without admitting any other sense to be put upon it, or permitting our selves to be dis-engaged and absolved from it, by any power or persons here on earth whatsoever.

Thus have we endeavoured to discharge our consciences, in own­ing and asserting the Truth, Cause, Government, and Covenant of our God, in warning our people of those dangerous Sects, He­resies, Blasphemies that are so rife amongst us, in protesting a­gainst the impious and boundless toleration of them; for which if we be maligned, reproached, persecuted, we trust (by the grace of our good God) that none of these things shall move us, Acts 20.24 neither shall we count our lives dear to our selves, so that we may finish our course with joy, and the Ministry which we have [Page 11]received of the Lord Jesus to testifie the Gospel of the Grace of God.

Subscribed by us, April 6. 1648.
  • Edward Hill Minister of the Gospel at Creston.
  • Elka. Wales Minister of the Gospel at Pudsey.
  • Rob. Todd Minister of the Gospel at Leeds.
  • Hu. Everard Minister of the Gospel at Worsbrough.
  • Rich. Calvert Minister of the Gospel at Selby.
  • Edward Richardson Minister of the Gospel at Rippon.
  • Joshua Witton Minister of the Gospel at Thornhil.
  • Will. Clarkson Minister of the Gospel at Addle.
  • Tho. Binkbeck Minister of the Gospel at Ackworth.
  • Jos. Ferret Minister of the Gospel at Pontefract.
  • Dan. Clark Minster of the Gospel at Kirkburton.
  • Christopher Richardson Minister of the Gospel at Kirk-Heaton.
  • Alexander Robertson Minister of the Gospel at Sherburn.
  • David Barnes Minister of the Gospel at Brotherton.
  • Hen. Moorehouse Minister at Castleford.
  • Hen. Horncastle Minister of the Gospel.
  • Nath. Rathband Minister de York.
  • Ste. Charman Minister of the Gospel at Himsworth.
  • Tho. Calvert Minister of York.
  • Theod. Hering Minister of York.
  • Tho. Hawkesworth Minister at Hunslet.
  • Joseph Bowde Minister of the Gospel at Leeds.
  • Ric. Foster Minister at Holbeck.
  • Tho. Chapman Minister at Denton.
  • J. Fisher Minister de Sheffield.
  • Immanuel Knutton Minister of Ecclesefield.
  • Samuel Kendal Minister of Edlington.
  • Christopher Amgil Minister of Treeton.
  • Luke Clayton Minister of Rotheram.
  • Thomas Clark Minister at Rotheram.
  • Tho. Bosvile Minister of Braythwel.
  • [Page 12]John Bridges Minister at Sheffield.
  • John Cart Minister at Hawsworth.
  • John Spofford Minister of the Gospel at Silkston.
  • Nathanael Cradock Minister at Wakefield.
  • John Noble Pastor of Kirkesmeaton.
  • Timothy Denison Minister at Normanton.
  • William Hawdon Minister at Brodsworth.
  • John Johnson Minister at Methley.
  • William Meek Minister of the Gospel.
  • Hugh Jennings Minister of the Gospel at Water-Friston.
FINIS.

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